The temperature check should not be used to identify people with covid-19, indicates a study. During the pandemic, this practice became common in several public places, such as airports, since fever is one of the symptoms of the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States recommended that this procedure be carried out in companies as well, to check daily if any employee is contaminated; however, researchers now point out that the strategy is ineffective. “There is no data to show that this prevents transmissions [of the Sars-CoV-2 virus],” said Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research, an American medical research institution.
The action became common in the early 2000s, when severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) appeared. At the time, fever was considered a reliable indicator, since about 86% of those infected had this symptom. “Temperature checks are cheap, practical and quick to perform and performed good screenings for Sars 1 in 2002 and 2003,” said researcher Mara Aspinall, a specialist in biomedical diagnostics at Arizona State University, on the Popular Science website.
Fever is not an indicator of covid-19
Aspinall points out that there are fundamental differences between the covid-19 and the Sars that “make temperature checks almost useless this time.” Current data suggest that less than half of people who contract Sars-CoV-2 develop a fever. Asymptomatic individuals, especially young people, and risk groups do not usually present this symptom, and even if these people eventually have a fever, they are already contagious before their temperature spikes.
The researcher also recalls that “there are many other diseases that cause fever, making this screening test inaccurate”, especially during autumn and winter, when respiratory infections become more common.